28 years old
7th major league season
6'2" 207 pounds
Bats L/Throws L
The former Pirates prospect was traded to the Cubs mid-season 2009, and was traded this January for a trio of prospects after the Cubs acquired Matt Garza. He has been wildly inconsistent during his major league career, starting 95 games, (36-37 career record), with a 4.68 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. His best year was in 2007 when he had a 3.88 ERA and won 14 games, but the Pirates made it throw 30+ meaningless innings in September, and he hasn't been the same since (highlighted by a higher BB/9 rate than his K/9 rate in 2008). Last year for the Cubs he threw 136 innings (29 games, 23 starts), with a 4.09 ERA and 1.51 WHIP, due to his high BB/9 rate of 4.5. He can be a useful arm in the back-end of a rotation.
He has a herky-jerky delivery (turns his back to the hitters to create deception), and throws from a high 3/4s arm slot. He throws 88-92 (velocity dropped from 91 to 2009 to 89.8 to 2010), an average change-up that runs down and away from righties (83 mph), and decent slider (usage jumped to 22% last year) and an occasional curveball. He's a fly ball pitcher who has swing and miss stuff (9 K/9 in 2009), but also has inconsistent command and has struggled with walks previously (6 W/9 in 2008). He struck out 10.4/9 versus lefties last year, so expect to see the line-up loaded up with righties.
He's pitched against the Mets 10 times, including 6 starts, and is 2-4 with a 5.70 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. He started once last year against the Mets in April with the Cubs, and threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 7, but took the loss. He faced the Mets this year on April 9th and took the loss, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing 5 runs (2 home runs to Beltran) on 4 hits, and 2 walks, while striking out 8.